I was listening to NPR this mornign and they had three back to back stories that horribly obfuscated reality in the name of some false sens of "telling all sides" of the story.
The first was on PTSD and how a returned soldier is haunted by the fact that he came back with no physical scars or disabilities while some of his friends were killed or maimed. In his efforts to help others, he participated in a study that was looking in to the genetic makeup of PTSD sufferers. The story went to to discuss the what genes were present in PTSD sufferers that might not be present in others. The entire focus of the story on causation. they even looked at things like diet or behavioral contributors. Some care was taken to not explicitly say that a specific set of genetics and behaviors "caused" PTSD; however, at no point did the discuss the fact that PTSD is caused by trauma, trauma induced by exposed to the actual and potentially immenent violent dismembering of oneself or ones friends. So, what if they find the gene and the behaviors that some how create a predisposition to PTSD. What then? Is the goal to create that scientific staple of human killing machines?
In a second story on HPV vacinations for boys they used the phrase "one study said" to make a key point. They didn't say who conducted "the study" or who paid for "the study" or anything about the participants, etc. I understand that there is a time limit on these stories; however, given that studies paid for by interested corporations are biased (1, 2, 3) the phrase "one study said..." is roughly eqivalent to "I heard that...". Is there not a journalistic standard here?
Finally, in another story, they were soliciting "expert opinion" (this was actually a story about US policy in Pakistan). they had three different experts give three different opinions about the US policy and each opinion was given equal weight. However, the jobs of each of the experts were not sufficiently described hidding any opportunity for the listener to be able to make any judgment as to veracity. This is an improper omission that actually hides critical data from the listener and the outcome is present a false equivalence for the three opinions that actually does not exist in reality.
I expect more from NPR.